Insurmountable: A survey experiment on migrants' perceived deservingness of welfare benefits

Speaker : Prof. Tom van der Meer, University of Amsterdam

While it is widely established that people generally consider migrants less deserving of welfare benefits, it has remained unclear how large this deservingness gap is compared to other criteria, and to what extent migrants can overcome this deservingness gap by overcoming negative stereotypes. For that purpose we employed a large scale, full-factorial vignette experiment among 23,000 participants of an online survey in the Netherlands. We proposed a hypothetical unemployed fellow-citizen with 9 random characteristics – ranging from household composition and migrant status to job related characteristics such as reason for unemployment and job-seeking behavior. The results of the experiment are highly sobering: the deservingness gap is not only sizeable, but also insurmountable, that is even when migrants portray optimal behavior.

Sonja Zmerli